The national charity which helps missing people reconnect with their loved ones has received Scottish Government funding to increase the help available.
There are more than 30,000 reports of missing people in Scotland each year, with nearly two-thirds of incidents involving a child or young person. Missing People runs a helpline which provides free, confidential advice to missing adults and children, and their families, connecting them with the support that they desperately need.
The charity has received more than £90,000 over two years to connect with more children and young people in Scotland and help them find safety and support. The funding will also help make sure the right support agencies and professionals are linked into the helpline.
At the same time the government is working with partners including Police Scotland, local councils, Shelter, Barnardo’s and Missing People to develop a National Missing Persons Framework, to reduce the harm related to people going missing and raise awareness of the many causes of going missing and the associated dangers.
Annabelle Ewing, minister for community safety and legal affairs, said: “There are many reasons why people go missing and we know they can be particularly vulnerable when missing, potentially finding themselves in situations of real risk. We want to improve access to the support available for those who go missing in Scotland which is why we are supporting Missing People to expand on their vital helpline.
“It is important our children and young people who go missing or are at risk of going missing know how to find the help they need to ensure safety and address the reasons behind why they went or want to go missing.
“When someone goes missing it is also a terrible experience for their loved ones and Missing People also provides much-needed support to the families of those who are missing.
“As we work with partners to try and prevent people going missing, and reduce the harm when they do, we will not forget the real impact that going missing has on people and their loved ones.”
Susannah Drury, director of Services and Advocacy at the charity Missing People, said: “We are delighted that the Scottish Government has renewed its commitment to supporting vulnerable missing children and young people with this funding.
“By building key partnerships with Police Scotland, other charities and local councils, the charity is committed to finding and supporting more missing children and young people across Scotland.
“When a child goes missing it is nearly always a sign that something is very wrong. These funds from the Scottish Government will help ensure that we can be here for free, 24/7 without judgement at the end of the phone when a missing child needs to talk through their options or get help to stay safe.”